What is Strategic Marketing? Top-5 Properties for a Successful Strategy
Strategic marketing is not just advertising or promoting a product. It’s a comprehensive approach to business development that includes market and competitor analysis, focus on the consumer, adaptability to changes, and control of outcomes. In this article, I will explain why strategic marketing is so important and the advantages it brings. I will introduce you to the five key properties of strategic marketing and show how these properties are applied in practice.
What is Strategic Marketing
Strategic marketing is a holistic approach to planning and managing a company’s marketing activities, focused on achieving long-term goals and creating competitive advantages. The main goal of strategic marketing is not only to attract customers and increase sales but also to establish long-term relationships with consumers, ensuring stable and sustainable growth of the company.
Strategic marketing helps an organization identify its competitive advantages, build long-term development plans, effectively allocate marketing resources and budget, and minimize market risks.
Key concepts of strategic marketing:
- SWOT Analysis:
This analysis allows assessing the company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats from the external environment. It helps determine where the company excels and where improvement is needed.
- Market Segmentation:
This is the process of dividing the market into groups of consumers with similar needs and characteristics. The company selects the most attractive segments to target its marketing efforts more effectively.
This concept involves creating a unique image of a product or brand in consumers’ minds. Positioning defines how a company wants to be perceived in the market — as a leader in quality, innovation, affordability, etc.
- Marketing Mix (4P):
This concept includes managing the product, price, place (how the product is distributed), and promotion (how the product is marketed) to achieve marketing goals.
Top 5 Properties of Strategic Marketing
- Goal Setting and Planning:
Goal setting and planning play a key role in strategic marketing as they allow companies to define their objectives, values, and path to success.
- Defining the company’s mission and values:
A marketing strategy should be built around the company’s mission and values. Goal setting enables the clear articulation of the company’s goals and values and how they relate to market opportunities.
- Setting marketing objectives:
Companies set specific objectives, such as increasing sales, expanding the customer base, or improving brand awareness. These goals should be SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
- Segmenting the market and defining the target audience:
Goal setting helps determine which market segments are most important for the company and who the target customers are.
- Developing a marketing strategy:
This stage involves choosing appropriate marketing strategies, such as product, price, promotion, and distribution strategies. Planning determines which marketing activities will be implemented to achieve the objectives.
Planning also includes determining the marketing budget, i.e., how much money the company is willing to spend on marketing and advertising activities.
- Creating marketing campaigns and tactics:
Planning involves creating specific marketing campaigns and tactics to be used to achieve the objectives. This may include advertising, content marketing, SEO, social media, and other activities.
- Measuring and analyzing results:
The plan should also include mechanisms for measuring and analyzing the results of marketing activities. This helps determine their effectiveness in achieving the set goals and make adjustments if necessary.
- Market and Competitor Analysis:
This is the process of studying the market in which the company operates and the actions of competitors. The goal is to find niches in the market where the company can stand out and increase its share.
- Market Analysis:
Market analysis involves studying the environment that affects your business. It helps understand market segmentation, consumer trends, and needs, which is important for developing a marketing strategy and adapting products or services.
- Market Segmentation: Identifying different groups of consumers with different characteristics and needs.
- Analysis of Consumer Needs: Understanding what exactly customers would look for in your product or service.
- Determining Market Trends: Assessing the current state of the market, its size, and potential growth prospects.
- Identifying Trends and Opportunities: Detecting new trends, technologies, or changes in consumer preferences that can create opportunities for your business.
- Competitor Analysis:
Competitor analysis helps identify which companies compete with you in the market and how they influence your business.
- Identifying Competitors: Determining all companies that offer similar products or services.
- Gathering Information about Competitors: Research competitors’ strategies, prices, marketing campaigns, and products.
- Determining Competitive Advantages: Identifying what you can do better or more uniquely than competitors.
- Evaluating Competitors’ Threats: Understanding what actions your competitors might take and how they can impact your business.
- Focus on the Customer:
This is a fundamental principle of a successful marketing strategy, as customers play a key role in business success. Here are some important aspects of customer focus:
- Understanding Customer Needs:
Companies should thoroughly research and understand the needs, desires, and expectations of their customers. This may include conducting market research, analyzing customer feedback, and monitoring trends in consumer behavior.
- Market Segmentation and Creating Personalized Approaches:
Dividing the customer base into segments with similar needs allows a company to create more accurate and personalized marketing strategies and offers.
- Improving Customer Experience: Creating a positive customer experience is a priority. This includes improving customer service, the ease of using products or services, and interaction with customers through various channels.
- Customer Feedback:
Companies should actively listen to their customers and obtain feedback. This helps identify issues and misunderstandings, as well as understand what changes can be made to improve products or services.
- Creating Value for Customers:
The marketing strategy should focus on creating and providing value to customers. Customers should see how the company’s products or services solve their problems or meet their needs.
- Long-term Relationships with Customers:
Focusing on the customer also means aiming to create long-term relationships with customers, not just short-term sales. Satisfied and loyal customers can become regular buyers and advocates of the brand.
- Adapting to Changes in Consumer Behavior:
Customers and the market are constantly changing. Companies must be ready to adapt their strategies in line with these changes and new customer requirements.
- Flexibility and Adaptability:
These qualities allow companies to successfully respond to changes, as well as adapt and adjust their marketing strategies and tactics.
- Responding to Market Changes:
This may include changing marketing campaigns, product assortments, pricing policies, and so on.
- Experiments and Testing:
Flexible marketing strategies allow companies to conduct experiments and test different approaches to determine what works best. This may include A/B testing of advertising campaigns, changing website design, or developing new product features.
- Adapting to New Technologies:
Technological advancements change the ways of interacting with customers and delivering products. Flexible companies invest in new technologies and adapt to them to remain competitive.
- Responding to Competitors:
Competitors may suddenly change their strategies. Flexible marketing approaches allow for a quick response to such changes and, if necessary, adapt their strategies.
- Seasonality and Changes in Trends:
Flexibility allows companies to adapt their marketing strategies to seasonal changes or shifts in consumer trends, such as holiday discounts or promotions.
- Monitoring and Measuring Results:
Monitoring and measuring results play an important role in strategic marketing, as they help companies evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing strategies and make informed decisions to achieve goals.
- Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
First and foremost, companies need to identify KPIs that best reflect their strategic goals. These metrics can include revenue, profit, market share, customer satisfaction level, conversion rate, and others.
- Systematic Monitoring and Measuring Results:
Companies should regularly monitor their KPIs and measure the results of marketing activities. This may include using analytical tools, reports, and research.
- Comparing with Benchmarks and Goals:
Results should be compared with pre-set benchmarks and strategic goals. This allows assessing how close the company is to achieving its strategic objectives.
- Analysis and Interpretation of Data:
Monitoring and measuring are not just about collecting data. It’s essential to analyze and interpret the results to understand what factors are influencing success and what actions can be taken to improve.
- Adjusting the Strategy:
If the results do not meet expectations or goals, the company should be prepared to adjust its marketing strategy. This may involve changing marketing campaigns, budgets, audience segmentation, and other aspects of the strategy.
- Reporting and Communication:
Internal reporting and communication are significant to ensure that all team members are clear about the results and direction of work. It also contributes to creating a unified understanding of strategic goals.
Application of Strategic Marketing
Strategic marketing is applied in practice in various industries and companies to achieve specific goals. Here are some properties and principles of strategic marketing and their application in practice, as well as examples of successful cases:
Market Segmentation and Targeting:
- Application: Companies identify the most profitable market segments and develop marketing strategies that accurately meet the needs of these segments.
- Case Example: Apple segments the market for its products (iPhone, iPad, Mac) and develops unique marketing strategies for each segment. For instance, the iPhone targets users seeking innovation and style, while Mac targets more professional users.
Creating Competitive Advantages:
- Application: Companies develop unique products, services, or brands to stand out among competitors.
- Case Example: Tesla created revolutionary electric vehicles with advanced autopilot technology, giving it a significant competitive edge in the electric car market.
Analysis and Monitoring of Results:
- Application: Companies regularly analyze their marketing campaigns and results to determine what works and what doesn’t, and adjust their strategies accordingly.
- Case Example: Amazon actively monitors and analyzes data on customer purchases and behavior to offer product recommendations and personalize the user experience.
Focus on the Customer:
- Application: Companies actively listen to and understand the needs and desires of customers to create products and services that satisfy them.
- Case Example: Starbucks pays special attention to the customer experience, creating cozy coffee shops and offering personalized beverages.
Flexibility and Adaptability:
- Application: Companies are ready to quickly respond to changes in the market or consumer behavior and adapt their strategies.
- Case Example: Netflix started as a DVD rental platform and quickly switched to streaming when it became popular.
Creating Value for Customers:
- Application: Companies aim to create products and services that solve customers’ problems and provide them with benefits.
- Case Example: Google created a free search engine and numerous free online tools (Gmail, Google Docs), providing value to users.
Strategic marketing plays a crucial role in business success. It helps companies define their mission, goals, and path to achieving these goals in the market. Understanding the needs, desires, and expectations of customers is the foundation of successful strategic marketing. Regular market research and obtaining customer feedback are recommended to keep the strategy relevant.
Market segmentation and defining the target audience allow for creating more effective marketing campaigns and personalized approaches to customers.
Regular analysis of competitors helps the company remain competitive.
The market and business environment are constantly changing. Companies must be prepared to adapt to changes and adjust their strategies in accordance with new conditions. Companies that successfully solve customer problems and provide them with value often build long-term relationships with customers. Regular monitoring and analysis of marketing strategy results allow for optimizing efforts and achieving better outcomes.